The central Philippines’ smallest province is the island of Siquijor. In 1565 when the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in the central Philippines, he sent a party to explore this island. The mysterious glow of swarms of fireflies in the night made the Spaniards call it “Isla de Fuego” which means Island of Fire.
To this day it remains an island of mystery. Spanish legacy remains in the centuries old heritage structures all around Siquijor such as St. Isidore Labradore Church and Convent, St. Francis of Assisi Church and Convent. In disperse of Christianity and ancient pre-Hispanic beliefs is local folklore behind traditional healers known to gather during Holy Week to collect herbs and other secret ingredients for potions and other herbal preparations. The beautiful scenic wonders of the island such as the Cambugahay Falls, Cantabon Cave and San Juan de Capilay Spring Park provide an appropriate backdrop to this mystical culture. The central part of the island is well-preserved rain-forest with diverse flora and fauna. A series of stone steps lead up to the highest point of the island, the mist covered Mt. Bandilaan (National Park). During clearer days it offers a dramatic vista of the island and the sea. Siquijor has several areas designated as marine sanctuaries, such as the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary ideal for eco-tourism. The island’s allure lies in its warm and amiable people. There welcome smiles greet visitors to their island.
Siquijor offers beautiful white-sand beaches such as the Salagdoong Beach that are far less crowded than other island destinations such as Boracay, Panglao and Mactan. The islands resorts such as Princesa Bulakna Resort, Coco Groove Beach Resort offer a different ambiance, comfortable amenities and delightful flavors. At night, Siquijor has places to go for a romantic dinner, serenaded by local entertainers. You can also go dancing with a live band. Based on a traditional marriage ritual the Solili festival is the highlight of the islands charter day celebration.
Getting to Siquijor is by conventional boat or modern fastcrafts from Cebu, Negros Oriental and Bohol. With good roads that encircle the island one can take a scenic ride around the island in just a few hours. To truly enjoy life’s simple pleasures one needs to stay for a day or two to unravel Siquijor secrets. But to find answers to the mysteries, you need to stay much longer.